Artwork Title: Summer - Artist Name: Gustave Van De Woestyne
I pass over Van de Woestyne commissioned portraits, which are technically more traditional, but show a subtlety in his psychological approach. I have a little more difficulty with the still lifes that he painted mainly in the 1920s and 1930s for his patron David van Buuren. They are too cool and they lack the magic that he gives to realistic subjects in the rest of his work. Downright overwhelming, on the other hand, is the square canvas Summer (1929), a claustrophobic painting on which a round classicist female figure in a low scary room leans over a bare table. The strange combination of geometric architectural angles and curved body lines, the only slightly different ochre yellow and light brown shades of the painting, almost a monochrome - with only the purple-blue accent of the grape vines lying on the table - remind us of metaphysical painting Giorgio Chirico and Carlo Carrà. The isolation of the figure and the oppressive void of the room, a kind of "diorama", are Beckettian. Further than Bruegel, and the Flemish and Italian primitives, this 'Latemse painter' never looked. "All the art of Gustave des Woestyne," wrote Karel, "is Insight, in every sense of the word." (

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